The Effect of Frontline Employees' Experienced Customer Incivility on Service Performance

고객접점직원의 고객무례경험이 서비스 성과에 미치는 효과: 감정소진과 정서조절역량의 역할을 중심으로

  • KIM, Minsung (College of Business Administration, Inha University) ;
  • HUR, Won-Moo (College of Business Administration, Inha University) ;
  • KIM, Byung-Soo (Department of Sociology, Hanyang University)
  • Received : 2019.06.25
  • Accepted : 2019.08.05
  • Published : 2019.08.30


Purpose - The present study examines the effect of service employees' experienced customer incivility through their emotional exhaustion. We identified service employees' emotion regulation ability as a boundary condition (i.e., moderating variable) that decreased the positive relationship between service employees' experienced customer incivility and their emotional exhaustion. Furthermore, we also investigated the negative relationship between service employees' experienced customer incivility and their service performance via emotional exhaustion. Research design, data, and methodology - Drawing on AET (affective event theory) and COR (conservation of resources) theory, we developed three research hypotheses (i.e., mediation, moderation, and moderated mediation). Online panel survey data from 552 frontline employees at several service organizations (e.g., department stores, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, airlines, banking, insurance company, and etc) in South Korea were examined. To assess two types of validity (i.e., convergent and discriminant validity) and reliability of measurement model, we employed the CFA (confirmatory factor analysis) using M-plus 8.2 software. Internal consistency also was tested by Cronbach' α. In addition, we employed the SPSS PROCESS MACRO 2.16, which was recommended by Hayes (2013, 2015), to estimate mediation, moderation, and moderated mediation effects. Results - As predicted, the negative relationship between service employees' experienced customer incivility and their service performance was mediated by emotional exhaustion. Furthermore, service employees' emotion regulation ability also played a significant moderating role of the relationship between service employees' experienced customer incivility and emotional exhaustion, such that this relationship was less pronounced when service employees had a high level of their emotion regulation ability than when thir emotion regulation ability was low. Service employees' emotion regulation ability further moderated this mediation effect of service employees' experienced customer incivility on service performance through emotional exhaustion. These findings have theoretical implications for employees' experienced customer incivility and emotion regulation ability research and provide managerial implications for practitioners. Conclusions - This study empirically elaborated the previous model of service employees' experienced customer incivility and personal resource (e.g., emotion regulation ability) literature by presenting the findings that service employees' experienced customer incivility influences their service performance via emotional exhaustion and that emotion regulation ability effectively reduces this negative effect.


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